Which grinding wheel is best for you? You decide!


cubic boron nitride plated grinding wheel

Cubic Boron Nitride plated metal wheel

If you can afford one, the very best all round grinding wheel for woodturners is now the latest CBN plated steel wheel which will fit standard high speed bench grinders - or on your lathe. CBN is cubic boron nitride which is much better than diamond for grinding steel. CBN wheels have many advantages over bonded abrasive wheels, more info here About Cubic Boron Nitride Grinding

We do not currently sell CBN grinding wheels

microcrystalline grinding wheel

Microcrystalline wheels

Microcrystalline wheels are the best vitrous bonded stone you can get and these are much better than the white or red stones. The grit is made using radical new ceramic technology. Each grain of grit is actually a clump of hundreds of tiny crystals sintered together. The crystals continuously break away in use exposing thousands of fresh sharp microscopic cutting edges. Because the crystals are so small and numerous the finish on the steel is as good as from a very much finer wheel. They are explained in detail here Microcrystalline Grinding Wheels

pink aluminium oxide wheelwhite aluminium oxide wheel

Pink, Red and White aluminium oxide wheels

Red and pink wheels are modified versions of white aluminium oxide wheels. The aluminium oxide is blended with chromium oxide to make the grains tougher. This also turns them a pink colour. Pink wheels keep their shape better so will last longer than white when used for grinding HSS gouges. We have discontinued pink stones (apart from some coarse grit ones for reshaping) in favour of the much superior microcrystalline stones.

White aluminium oxide wheels are the traditional choice for high speed steel tools ard manufacturers and many books and teachers will recommend them. They are made from pure aluminium oxide which is very friable. This means that the crystals break down quickly when blunt to present fresh cutting edges. They tend to wear away quite quickly especially when grinding woodturning gouges so will require frequent dressing to keep them in shape. They are economically priced and much better than the grey wheels that generally come with bench grinders but you would be advised to go for a more advanced modern wheel if you can afford it.

grey grinding wheel

Grey grindstones

Often mistakenly described as carborundum, grey stones are made from impure aluminium oxide or corundum. These are generally supplied with cheap grinders and are suitable for rough grinding of metal in an engineering workshop. They are not recommended for any cutting blades and can quickly destroy a carbon steel tool. You can use them for your turning tools if you dress the stone very frequently with a diamond dressing tool. Take great care not to press hard and overheat the tool edge. They will serve on a temporary or emergency basis while you get around to fitting a better stone.

Next page - technical information on grinding. How grindstones work